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How Safe Are Your Sanitary Products? The Hazards of Using Pads and Tampons

Updated on December 16, 2016

When i came to know about the dangerous facts about the product almost every women in the reproductive age group uses, i got the shock of my life.The product is nothing other than the sanitory pads and tampons.

The average woman may have as many as 400 periods in their lifetime, and can use up to 15,000 tampons during this time. This is a very large number, and it is important to consider the health implications involved in the products that women use to capture the blood during their periods. It is also interesting to note that the testing for the safety of these products is usually conducted by their manufacturer and not by an independent body. The vast majority of women will opt to use either sanitary pads or tampons, or a combination of both methods.


The tampons that we get in the market is made from the cotton which is grown using the modern day technology.


We like the stuff which is sparkling white .We think that if the product is pure white it is clean.But the assumption is proved wrong in the case of tampons.The cotton that is received after harvesting is half white in colour.The manufacturers use a chemical called DIOXIN to bleach the cotton.Unless the tampon is specifically labeled as non-bleached you must assume it has undergone this process.Although the levels of dioxin in tampons are quite small (and the tampon companies will readily point this out) they are still dangerous as dioxin accumulates in the fat stores of the body and can add up to very dangerous residual levels over time. When you consider the average number of tampons used by a woman in her lifetime, you can start to imagine that the buildup of dioxin in the body tissue will actually be quite significant.. Dioxin is linked with the following effects in the body:


Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Breast cancer

Ovarian cancer

Estrogen dominant conditions

Birth defects in offspring

Immune system damage

Sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Hormone dysfunction


Impaired fertility

Lowered concentration ability


Impaired thyroid function


Apart from cotton,Rayon is yet another synthetic polymer that is added to the tampons to enhance the absorbing capacity .Rayon also has dioxin in it.


These are the chemicals that are used to spray on the cotton crops.A chemical named FURAN stays on the cotton long after it has been harvested,which is a potential danger which might cause harm. These have been linked with the following effects in the body:

Birth defects of offspring

Low birth weight


Hormonal disruption

Thyroid malfunction





These substances are added to the tampon product during processing. Although they can also enter the bloodstream in a similar way to the pesticides and dioxin, they can also have an effect locally in the vagina and cause allergies and skin reactions.

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is not caused by the chemicals discussed above, but rather from an overgrowth of staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the vagina which causes a release of toxins and poisonous substances into the bloodstream. These toxins can cause a sudden fall in blood pressure and death. The presence of the tampon in the vagina for prolonged periods of time can encourage the growth of the staphylococcus bacteria, as can the use of synthetic fibers in tampons. The occurrence of these symptoms in conjunction with tampon use may be a sign of toxic shock syndrome:



Sunburn-like rash



Cold and clammy skin



Sanitary pads are subject to the same considerations above in terms of the chemicals in the cotton used, the bleaching process, and the use of fragrances. Although they are in less contact with the internal vaginal wall they are still in contact with the external mucous membrane and chemicals on them can enter the bloodstream this way. Pads are also often made with a dry-weave plastic cover which can cause irritation and localized allergic reactions.

In INDIA the manufacturers do not point to the composition of chemicals that is present in these products.There are no government norms to regulate these issues.Creating awareness will caution the users not to buy these products . Hence help to Propagate these facts.


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    • profile image

      kiran 4 years ago


    • profile image

      satya 4 years ago

      very informative, but what is the solution. Using homemade cotton pads at home is also very uncomfortable. how can we safely use the pads without, side effects

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      khan 4 years ago

      Plz tell us abt the cup to use in menstral peroid

    • profile image

      khan 4 years ago

      Then what should we use its our problem of every month

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      sneha garg 5 years ago

      i have a company which made sanitary napkin without any use of chemicals and are interested to do a seminar for the awareness of this.. they also do demoes in which they show the quality and other property of their products if any one is intersted in this nobel cause can contact us on

      as according to WHO report a lady dies in every 4 min due to use of bad sanitary napkin

    • profile image

      trischa 5 years ago

      Im selling affordable BioSanitary pads (malaysian product) Its made up of chemical free herbs. I started to use them two months ago and my menstrual cramps disappeared. I know this will help you too. email me@:


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      K.Mac 5 years ago

      Agreed! We talked about this same topic in my textiles class last semester. It was a big concern for all of us. Always came out with this new infinicell pad and sure it works great but the pad has a strong chemical smell to it and it makes me concerned to know what it is made out of and is it safe. Sanitary products are an important need and there is no reason why it can't be made safe.

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      anuradha mehta 5 years ago

      I m also suffering badly.why don't v look for a legalway to find a solution of this torture.IN our country ladies n young girls belonging to small towns will not even talk about it as this topic is taboo in family. doctors are prescribing steroid ointments and antibiotics, which is not working half the time. these medicines are having other side effects on people like us who are already sensitive and allergic.we should start a forum to find a solution

    • profile image

      s.m.devi 5 years ago


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      Maria 6 years ago

      i also used a pad and i develop candidiasis?could it be the cause of this problem or there are other factors leading to that

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      sharmatha gokul 6 years ago

      very true! there's an alternative for everything...solution for every probs! lady anion pads have such solution for such probs

    • profile image

      kayla 6 years ago

      should i use tampons

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      6 years ago

      Very true. Both tampons nor pads are good for you. That's why I stick with menstrual cups. Best decision I've ever made, and they're a life saver, too.

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      dove 6 years ago

      if these tempoons and sanitry napkins having dioxin and other harmful material in it then why its not going to be catered my health:societies working on public health

      this silence should be broken and create awareness about the dangers of the so called modernism and such modern science's products which is keeping us away from using natural produts and say bye to hi tech ,processed item including food and DIY.Learn to care about urself

      we will have to go back to nature and say b

    • profile image

      MIA 6 years ago

      Very nice info!

      Can I use this page as source for promoting my menstrual pad product? Thanks!!

    • profile image

      cloth diaper malaysia 8 years ago

      Great info! Mind if I use the info here for any future posts related to encouraging use of cloth pads :)


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      RP 8 years ago

      More recently, I just felt so so so uncomfortable wearing the sanitary napkins due to emergence of rash around my anal region, that as an emergency measure, I cut a 100% cotton work cloth I had lying around somewhere into pieces to line my underwear with, and started using it right away. It was such a relief!

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      Aimee Powell 8 years ago

      I just switched to GladRags (reusable, organic cotton pads) and Diva Cups made by the same company. I had terrible itchiness and mysterious rashes for years that always got worse around menses. My doctors and dermatologists were of no help. I assumed it was hormonal. Now that I have stopped using sanitary napkins, I don't itch, and my rashes have subsided. I wish I had figured this out years ago.